Thursday, 13 December 2007



To feel alien in a world of people is to be dead. I'd thought this since I came round, after the accident. How it happened, I don't know. I cannot remember a thing. And neither can I remember any of these people, or even myself.
'A bad case of amnesia,' Dr Forster had said.
Infact, he said a lot to me. What is it about shrinks that they think they can play God? OK, I'm here, in this psychiatric hospital, unable to leave except on his say so. OK, I'm here, often drugged - when I become violent, at least. But who is HE that he thinks he can play God with me? After all, he can't order me dead. Can he?
'But you already are. You told me so.'
I hate him.
I hate him like I've never hated anyone before. And it surprises me how easily I can hate. I hate so much - the incarceration in this place; not knowing who I am; I even hate the sun.
'You like the dark, don't you?'
'What if I do?'
'It tells me you remember something.'

To escape this place - this would be paradise. To get out. I have to get out. But I'm here, restrained, the nurse on her way to the hospital, Dr Forster telling me how I've been naughty.
My hands are twitching in their restraints, wanting to be free, to encompass Forster's neck. To squeeze.
It had been a spirited escape. At least, I thought it had, but did I learn something of myself?
I'd evaded the nurse outside the ward. He'd gone to the toilet and I slipped out, into the corridor. It was dark, and the darkness bathed me, invigorated me, and I felt somehow superhuman.
Stealthily, I'd crept through the complex, not far from freedom. Then I saw her. She was a nurse, taking a relaxing half hour in a staff room, her uniform unbuttoned. But was it the cleavage that excited me?
I should have gone on, left her alone. Become free. But when an impulse takes you, you follow. And I followed my impulse.
She looked as if she would scream at first. But at the last moment she looked into my eyes and felt somehow mesmerised. What was this power I had as my arms went around her, as I pulled here towards me, as that cleavage filled my vision, only to be replaced by her neck?

'You were found half an hour later,' said Dr Forster, ‘with her blood in your mouth.'
‘Will she live?'
'It's hard to say. She seems to be in a coma. The doctors don't understand it.'
'And neither do I.'
Which is true. I don't understand it. I don't understand what I am. I feel like a normal guy, but I get urges. Urges I don't understand.
'Oh, that's simple,' said Dr Forster. 'Displacement disorder. You don't know who you are, so you're constructing something that can give you a sense of meaning.'
'By sucking out someone's blood?'
'It's the juice of life. And that's what you want. Life. And if you can't have your own, you'll take someone else's.'
And my hands were twitching again, wanting, more than anything else, to get them round his neck.

I'm calmer now. It's been a while since I attacked the girl. Even my thoughts of killing Dr Forster seem to be waning. Am I becoming at peace with myself, with my lot?
I've been allowed to walk in the gardens. They're high walled with electric wires along the top. I cannot escape, so I'm allowed to walk here, to contemplate, to think.
It's twilight. I couldn't have come out before it was twilight, with that horrible sun in the sky, acting like my jailer.
'I suppose that's part of my displacement,' I said to Dr Forster.
'Hating the sun? Of course, if you bite people's necks then it follows that you'll only feel comfortable in the dark.'
And he's right about that, at least. I do feel comfortable out here, close to nature, close to dark nature. Close to ...
What are they? Who are they? Why am I close to THEM?
They seem to lie on the fringes of my vision. They seem alive, but ethereal. They seem to take human form, but they float, part of this world, and partly not. They have beautiful faces, but also ugly.
'What are you?' I ask, but they don't reply. They just float there, on the periphery of my vision, and I feel a sense of loss.

I suppose I'm in the right place to go mad. What comes first, we can ask, the madness or the asylum? But that is witty, and there's no room in my life, now, for humour.
I don't know what those images were but I know I knew them, know I longed for them.
'But they were only delusions.'
Damn you, Forster. Here I am, trying to make a new life, a new persona, a new reason, and you do nothing but turn it into inconsequence.
'But if they are not delusions,' he continues, 'then there's only one alternative.'
'Which is?'
'That you're sane. And if you are sane, then you can only be a vampire. Which, of course, do not exist.'
Or do they?

I have broken out of the hospital and I wander alone in the night. When dawn breaks, I know I'll have to find somewhere to sleep, for I AM a vampire. I know that now.
It came to me suddenly the other night, the proof that Dr Froster was wrong.
You see, I felt guilty about the nurse. But why would I do that if I was suffering displacement? Surely I would revel in what I had done?
So the answer was simple. I AM a vampire, but I had an accident, found myself unconscious. And when I awoke, not knowing who I was, the human infiltrated into the mind, complete with its complicated emotions.
I AM a vampire, but I'm also partly human once more. I AM a vampire, with a vampire's needs, a vampire's ways, but infected by that horrific conscience of mankind.
I felt the tug of that conscience when my hands finally went around Forster's neck. But not to strangle as I once thought, but to hold still. And when my teeth punctured that neck and I sucked, I felt whole.
But afterwards, when he was dead, I also felt guilt, and it so cripples me ...

I'm in a deep cellar while day passes outside. I've killed a great deal in the past week. And every time I fed, I felt delight. But afterwards ...
My ethereal friends surround me, comfort me, want me back. I look at them and feel close, wishing I could be like them again, so uncomplicated in their basic instinctual desires. But I'm partially human again now. And I know I could never be fully like them again. I know I can never get rid of this damned conscience.
I'm trapped between two worlds. To see my ethereal friends is to be pulled apart in my very being. Yet to feel alien in a world of people is to be dead. And maybe that is the answer. But, then again, for me, it is no answer at all.
Oh, to be able to kill myself, to commit suicide and remove myself from this misery. But that is impossible.
Being a vampire, I'm already dead.

© Anthony North, November 2007

Click Fiction Page for more short stories
Or try Diary of a Writer. Meet me up close and personal

No comments: